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Bomb shelters replace summer camps for Israeli children

Children from central and northern Israel are now experiencing what residents of the south have suffered for 13 years: the sounds of the alarms, the running for shelter, the ongoing fear and trauma.
Israeli children play inside a bomb shelter in the southern city of Ashkelon July 10, 2014. At least 74 Palestinians, most of them civilians, have been killed in Israel's Gaza offensive, Palestinian officials said on Thursday, and militants kept up rocket attacks on Tel Aviv and other cities in warfare showing no signs of ending soon. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun (ISRAEL - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST SOCIETY) - RTR3Y0MI

SDEROT, Israel — Former Mayor Eli Moyal still recalls the first time a rocket landed in Sderot. He was almost certainly one of the first Israeli citizens to experience a rocket fired from Gaza landing in his town.

One day, he was sitting on his porch, reading the newspaper. “I remember it like it was yesterday,” Moyal told Al-Monitor July 10. ''It was April 16, 2001. I was sitting there, smoking a cigarette and taking in the sunset. Suddenly, I heard loud noises. At first, I didn’t pay much attention to this. There was one boom after another, and smoke billowing up. You have to remember that back then, no one imagined that missiles would ever strike Israeli towns. But then a few policemen came to tell me that missiles had fallen on Sderot. I was stunned. ‘Are you sure?’ I asked them, and they told me that they were. That’s how it all began.”

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